United States General Accounting Office GAO National Security and International Affairs Division April 1997 Military Operations and Capabilities Issue Area Plan Fiscal Years 1995-98 GAO/IAP-97-2 Foreword As the investigative arm of Congress and the nation’s auditor, the General Accounting Office is charged with following the federal dollar wherever it goes. Reflecting stringent standards of objectivity and independence, GAO’s audits, evaluations, and investigations promote a more efficient and cost-effective government; expose waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in federal programs; help Congress target budget reductions; assess financial information management; and alert Congress to developing trends that may have significant fiscal or budgetary consequences. In fulfilling its responsibilities, GAO performs original research and uses hundreds of databases or creates its own when information is unavailable elsewhere. To ensure that GAO’s resources are directed toward the most important issues facing Congress, each of GAO’s 32 issue areas develops a strategic plan that describes the significance of the issues it addresses, its objectives, and the focus of its work. Each issue area relies heavily on input from congressional committees, agency officials, and subject-matter experts in developing its strategic plan. The Military Operations and Capabilities issue area covers programs of the Department of Defense, the individual military services, and other supporting defense agencies. GAO’s work in this issue area includes assessments of military planning activities; the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budgeting for operation and maintenance (O&M); the capability, performance, readiness, and sustainability of military forces, weapons, and support systems; and initiatives aimed at maintaining a quality force. The principal issues covered are • the accuracy of budget estimates for DOD’s O&M account and the potential for greater savings and efficiencies; • the capability of military forces, weapons, and support systems to carry out their expected roles in the National Military Strategy and their performance in actual operations; • the readiness and sustainability of military forces to perform their assigned missions and the potential to enhance or sustain readiness at less cost; and • the effectiveness of DOD’s efforts to recruit and retain a quality force, and maintain needed quality of life programs. In the pages that follow, we describe our key planned work on these critical defense issues. Page 1 GAO/IAP-97-2 Foreword Because events may significantly affect even the best of plans and because periodic measurement of success against any plan is essential, our planning process allows for updating and the flexibility to respond quickly to emerging issues. If you have any questions or suggestions about this plan, please call me at (202) 512-5140. Mark E. Gebicke Director, Military Operations and Capabilities Issues Page 2 GAO/IAP-97-2 Contents 1 Foreword 4 Table I: Key Issues 6 Table II: Planned Major Work 7 Table III: GAO Contacts Page 3 GAO/IAP-97-2 Table I: Key Issues Issue Significance Planning and budgeting: Members of Congress have had dual concerns that DOD has Have DOD and the military services prepared accurate O&M overbudgeted for some items while underbudgeting for others. The latter budgets, and are there opportunities to reduce these costs? concern is apt to take on even greater significance as budget pressures continue and pressures build to devote a greater portion of defense resources to modernization. At the same time, both Congress and the administration are eager to identify opportunities to reduce O&M costs. Our identification of potential reductions can interject greater accountability into the budgeting process and permit reallocation of funds where needed. Capabilities and performance: Successful military operations are predicated on the presumption that Has DOD fielded capable forces, weapon systems, and critical functional force elements and weapon systems can achieve their support elements, and are they performing as expected? mission. Our assessments will identify critical shortfalls that could jeopardize operations as well as excess capabilities that might be eliminated and thereby assist future decisions on force structure, training, and capital investments. Examining performance in exercises and actual operations provides the best indicator of capability. Readiness and sustainability: Congress wants to avoid a return to a “hollow” force, unprepared to fight Are U.S. military forces ready to effectively carry out their the nation’s wars. Readiness problems, however, may, in fact, reflect assigned missions, can supporting systems sustain them, poor resource allocation decisions, or failure to recognize more and can readiness be sustained or enhanced at less cost? cost-effective opportunities to sustain or even enhance training. Better management of defense resources may be the key to ensuring needed readiness in a constrained resource environment. Quality of the force: A smaller military must emphasize quality, continuity, and high morale. Do DOD and the military services have effective programs to Sound recruiting efforts, meaningful training, career development recruit and retain a quality force, and maintain needed opportunities, and effective quality-of-life programs are essential if DOD quality-of-life programs? is to retain a quality force. Page 4 GAO/IAP-97-2 Table I: Key Issues Objectives Focus of Work • Examine adequacy of justifications associated with DOD’s O&M budget • Critical reviews of DOD’s annual O&M budget requests to requests with an emphasis on identifying requests that are greater than identify potential savings. documented requirements. • Target selected budget/program items for in-depth evaluation to better • More detailed reviews of selected DOD O&M programs identify the potential for reductions. to identify potential reductions. • Examine outsourcing/privatization and other options for meeting base • Critical reviews of outsourcing/privatization initiatives and operations and facilities infrastructure needs at less cost. case studies to identify industry best practices applicable to government. • Alert Congress and DOD to limitations and imbalances in selected • Reviews to assess whether imbalances exist in ways, operational capabilities. means, and ends of selected capability areas in relationship to requirements. Also, reviews of the adequacy • Evaluate the adequacy of DOD actions taken to properly size forces of actions taken to correct shortfalls and eliminate according to their anticipated missions. excesses in various capability areas. • Assessments of the performance of selected functional • Identify performance shortfalls that could undermine success in future capabilities in recent operations. operations. • Provide Congress with data important to tracking trends in readiness • Aggregation, retention, and analysis of readiness and identifying reasons for any variances. Also, determine whether indicator data developed by the services and reported to readiness indicators used by DOD and the services provide a reliable and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. comprehensive assessment of readiness. • Identify ways to maintain readiness at lower cost. • Reviews to determine effectiveness of training and exercises in preparing forces for combat, and identify opportunities to accomplish this at a lower cost. • Reviews of sustainment functions to identify excesses • Assess whether maintenance, supply, and other support systems that divert funds from more productive uses and shortages effectively and efficiently ensure readiness. that hamper readiness. • Assess DOD’s efforts to provide the necessary incentives to recruit and • Assessments of DOD and service force management retain a quality force. issues such as recruiting, attrition, and grade structure. • Assessments of the force balance occurring through • Determine if DOD’s drawdown is achieving a balanced active, reserve, various downsizing actions (military and civilian). and civilian workforce. • Evaluations of quality-of-life initiatives such as enlisted and family housing, and other family support programs. • Assess the efficacy of ongoing quality-of-life initiatives. Page 5 GAO/IAP-97-2 Table II: Planned Major Work Issue Planned Major Job Starts Planning and budgeting •Evaluation of DOD’s fiscal year 1998 O&M budget request •Lessons learned from large-scale base support contracting •Reducing O&M in family housing •Reserve component planning and budgeting for infrastructure Capabilities and •DOD’s role in antiterrorism performance •DOD’s critical battlefield information systems •DOD’s determination of future medical personnel requirements •Bosnia lessons learned •Conflicts/impediments to increased jointness Readiness and •Review of safety principles used in dangerous military sustainability training •Potential savings from increased use of simulation training •Impact of the Army’s battlefield digitization effort •Best practices in applying distance learning to training •Update on comprehensive system to measure readiness •Follow-up on ammunition management in the United States Quality of the force •Improvements in DOD’s joint manpower process •Enlisted force grade structure increases •First-term attrition •Military recruiters’ quota systems •DOD’s unaccompanied housing program Page 6 GAO/IAP-97-2 Table III: GAO Contacts Director Mark E. Gebicke (202) 512-5140 Associate Director Sharon A. Cekala (202) 512-5140 Assistant Directors Edward M. Balderson William E. Beusse Brenda S. Farrell Barry W. Holman Reginald L. Furr, Jr. Valeria G. Gist William C. Meredith Donald L. Patton Elliott C. Smith William M. Solis Page 7 GAO/IAP-97-2 Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. 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Military Operations and Capabilities Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1995-98
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-04-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)